Tuesday, August 5, 2014

'Cross Is Back At Royal Oaks

For the third year in a row, there is cyclocross practice at Royal Oaks Park in West Bend. This year’s series began today and will run every Tuesday in August and September. And it’s a great series. What makes it great is that it doesn’t try to be too much. You don’t have to register. You don’t have to pay. Setup takes only a few minutes because most of the course runs over existing trails. The course has sections of turf, asphalt, dirt and wood chips. It has tough climbs and fast descents. It has off-camber turns, two sets of barriers and other change-of-pace features to upset your rhythm and make you work even harder. It’s a fun place to practice under conditions just like the ones you will find during the racing season.

In the picture below, Jeff Wren (Team Extreme), Steve Cummins (Team Pedal Moraine) and Brian Petted (Team Extreme) run through the barriers at the bottom of the hill. There’s another set at the top.

(Cindy Vana photo)

Ladies love cyclocross too! Here’s Suzanne Letellier (Team Pedal Moraine) weaving through the trees near the end of the lap:

(Cindy Vana photo)

We did something a little different with the course today, taking riders through a big pile of sawdust at the top of the first climb. It’s the closest thing Royal Oaks has to a sand pit. And Royal Oaks doesn’t have a staircase to run up, but maybe next week we will utilize a steep singletrack climb that we avoided today. That would be a good way to practice the technique of shouldering the bike. The 30-minute practice race makes 6 laps around the course, and 6 times up that hill with a bike on your shoulder would be a challenge for almost anyone!

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